Archive for the ‘ Training ’ Category

Commonwealth Games Swimming Predictions – Freestyle

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

 The tables below list the eight fastest Commonwealth swimmers in the freestyle events. Below each table is a description of New Zealand’s fastest swimmer with a prediction of the chance of making a final or winning a medal. The chance of either of those two things happening is discussed in terms of the percentage New Zealand’s fastest swimmer is behind the eighth placed and the third placed Commonwealth swimmer. Experience has shown that, at this level, it is unlikely swimmers will improve by more than 1.5%. If the gap between eighth or third is more than that a place in the final or a medal is unlikely.

And so how does New Zealand compare?

50 Freestyle Women
1 23.79 Campbell, Cate AUS
2 24.22 Campbell, Bronte AUS
3 24.62 Jack, Shayna AUS
4 24.64 Toro, Michelle CAN
5 24.67 Mainville, Sandrine CAN
6 25.03 Ruck, Taylor CAN
7 25.07 Hopkin, Anna GBR
8 25.24 Rayner, Freya GBR

New Zealand’s fastest female 50 freestyle swimmer at the Games is Laticia-Leigh Transom. She has a personal best time of 25.99. The gap to eighth is 0.75 seconds or 2.8%. The gap to third is 1.37 seconds or 5.3%. Conclusion – a New Zealand final or medal is unlikely in this event.

50 Freestyle Men
1 21.32 Proud, Benjamin GBR
2 21.55 McEvoy, Cameron AUS
3 21.70 Tandy, Brad RSA
4 21.91 Roberts, James AUS
5 21.98 Magnussen, James AUS
6 22.03 Cumberlidge, David GBR
7 22.10 Fannon, Thomas GBR
8 22.11 Kisil, Yuri CAN

New Zealand’s two fastest male 50 freestyle swimmers at the Games are Daniel Hunter and Samuel Perry. Daniel Hunter has a personal best time of 22.31. The gap to eighth is 0.20 seconds or 0.9%. The gap to third is 0.61 seconds or 2.7%. Conclusion – a good swim could earn a place in the final but a medal is unlikely. Samuel Perry has a personal best time of 22.47. The gap to eighth is 0.36 seconds or 1.60%. The gap to third is 0.77 seconds or 3.4%. Conclusion – In theory a final or a medal is unlikely. However Perry is coming off some top racing in the USA and could earn a final swim. For example his yards time, this week, at the NCAA Finals converts to 22.17, faster than the NZ record and only a few 100ths from a Commonwealth final.

100 Freestyle Women
1 52.37 Campbell, Cate AUS
2 52.85 Campbell, Bronte AUS
3 52.94 Oleksiak, Penny CAN
4 52.96 Ruck, Taylor CAN
5 53.12 McKeon, Emma AUS
6 53.77 Mainville, Sandrine CAN
7 53.88 Anderson, Freya GBR
8 54.37 O’Connor, Siobhan-Marie GBR

New Zealand’s fastest female 100 freestyle swimmer at the Games is Laticia-Leigh Transom. She has a personal best time of 55.84. The gap to eighth is 1.47 seconds or 2.6%. The gap to third is 3.47 seconds or 6.2%. Conclusion – a New Zealand final or medal is unlikely in this event.

100 Freestyle Men
1 47.90 Scott, Duncan GBR
2 47.91 McEvoy, Cameron AUS
3 47.97 Cartwright, Jack AUS
4 48.16 Chalmers, Kyle AUS
5 48.38 le Clos, Chad RSA
6 48.50 Kisil, Yuri CAN
7 49.09 Waddell, Zane RSA
8 49.13 Thormeyer, Markus CAN

New Zealand’s two fastest male 100 freestyle swimmers at the Games are Daniel Hunter and Samuel Perry. Daniel Hunter has a personal best time of 49.43. The gap to eighth is 0.30 seconds or 0.6%. The gap to third is 1.46 seconds or 3.0%. Conclusion – a good swim could earn a place in the final but a medal is unlikely. Samuel Perry has a personal best time of 49.48. The gap to eighth is 0.35 seconds or 0.70%. The gap to third is 1.51 seconds or 3.1%. Conclusion – Here again Perry is coming off some top racing in the USA. I expect Perry could very well earn a final swim. For example his yards time this week in an NCAA relay final converts to a very fast 48.20. A medal however is unlikely.

200 Freestyle Women
1 1:54.99 McKeon, Emma AUS
2 1:55.76 Titmus, Ariarne AUS
3 1:56.76 Faulkner, Eleanor GBR
4 1:56.85 Ruck, Taylor CAN
5 1:57.13 Savard, Katerine CAN
6 1:57.33 Wilson, Madison AUS
7 1:57.79 Oleksiak, Penny CAN
8 1:57.81 Harvey, Mary-Sophie CAN

New Zealand’s fastest female 200 freestyle swimmer at the Games is Carina Doyle. She has a personal best time of 2:00.09. The gap to eighth is 2.28 seconds or 1.9%. The gap to third is 3.33 seconds or 2.8%. Conclusion – a New Zealand final or medal is unlikely in this event.

200 Freestyle Men
1 1:45.16 Scott, Duncan GBR
2 1:45.18 Guy, James GBR
3 1:46.49 Chalmers, Kyle AUS
4 1:46.72 Graham, Alexander AUS
5 1:46.78 Milne, Stephen GBR
6 1:46.79 Lewis, Clyde AUS
7 1:46.84 le Clos, Chad RSA
8 1:47.09 Brown, Myles RSA

New Zealand’s fastest male 200 freestyle swimmer at the Games is Matthew Stanley. He has a personal best time of 1:47.13. The gap to eighth is 0.04 seconds or 0.3%. The gap to third is 0.64 seconds or 0.6%. Conclusion – I understand there may be some debate about whether Stanley can swim this event. It is on the same day as the relay. If he does swim and has a good day he could make a final and possibly even medal.

400 Freestyle Women
1 4:02.36 Titmus, Ariarne AUS
2 4:06.37 Hibbott, Holly GBR
3 4:06.90 Faulkner, Eleanor GBR
4 4:07.24 Carlin, Jazmin GBR
5 4:07.73 Ashwood, Jessica AUS
6 4:08.07 Melverton, Kiah AUS
7 4:09.69 Harvey, Mary-Sophie CAN
8 4:10.80 Goss, Kennedy CAN

New Zealand’s fastest female 400 freestyle swimmer at the Games is Georgia Marris. She has a personal best time of 4:15.52. The gap to eighth is 4.72 seconds or 1.8%. The gap to third is 8.62 seconds or 3.4%. Conclusion – a New Zealand final or medal is unlikely in this event.

400 Freestyle Men
1 3:43.85 Horton, Mack AUS
2 3:44.74 Guy, James GBR
3 3:45.56 McKeon, David AUS
4 3:45.80 McLoughlin, Jack AUS
5 3:46.16 Milne, Stephen GBR
6 3:46.20 Litchfield, Max GBR
7 3:48.82 Bagshaw, Jeremy CAN
8 3:49.55 Meyer, Matthew RSA

New Zealand’s fastest male 400 freestyle swimmer at the Games is Matthew Stanley. He has a personal best time of 3:47.67. That time pre-dates the 18 months used in this post. If Stanley could repeat this old time he would place 7th. The gap to third is 2.11 seconds or 0.90%. Conclusion – Stanley should make a final in this event. A medal however is unlikely.

800 Freestyle Women
1 8:20.08 Titmus, Ariarne AUS
2 8:25.61 Ashwood, Jessica AUS
3 8:30.56 Carlin, Jazmin GBR
4 8:30.66 Hibbott, Holly GBR
5 8:31.18 Evans, Joanna BAH
6 8:31.68 Padington, Mackenzie CAN
7 8:31.68 Padington, Mackenzie CAN
8 8:32.84 Hattersley, Camilla GBR

No New Zealand swimmers will swim this event.

1500 Freestyle Men
1 14:47.70 Horton, Mack AUS
2 14:51.48 Jervis, Daniel GBR
3 14:54.95 McLoughlin, Jack AUS
4 15:02.12 Derbyshire, Tom GBR
5 15:06.51 Lelliott, Jay GBR
6 15:08.35 Hedlin, Eric CAN
7 15:11.22 Szurdoki, Brent RSA
8 15:13.05 Parrish, Joshua AUS

No New Zealand swimmers will swim this event.

Conclusion for freestyle events – The New Zealand swimmers most likely to make a final are Perry and Hunter in either or both the 50 and 100 freestyle and Stanley in the 200 and 400 freestyle. All three would need to swim very well to achieve that result. It is unlikely that any New Zealand swimmer will medal in a freestyle event. It is also most unlikely that any New Zealand female swimmer will make a freestyle final.

Prediction – Three finals, no medals.

Janet Evans Should Be The Boss

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Here on Swimwatch we seldom discuss international swimming politics. There are two good reasons for this. First, I don’t know much about the subject. And second, there is more than enough in New Zealand to keep Swimwatch occupied. However there was a headline on SwimVortex today that did attract my interest. This is what it said:

Janet Evans ‘in race’ for FINA top table; may lead to 1st woman president, in Ledecky era

It seems that Janet Evans is preparing to put her name forward to be the United States’ representative on the ruling FINA Bureau. That is great news for several reasons.

First Janet is a woman. That might sound strange but FINA is in serious need of some gender balance. The central FINA Bureau currently has thirty-five men and three women. Only in this most recent Olympic cycle has FINA appointed more than one woman. The ten Honorary members and the seven executive members are all male. Over all the organisation’s committees there are 179 men and 48 women. In a sport where more than 50% of the participants are women it is a travesty that 79% of the governing positions should be held by men.

New Zealand hasn’t helped. The most recent list I can find is in the 2016/17 Annual Report. This tells me that four New Zealand appointments (Gerrard, Clarke, West and Eagles) are male and one (Huckins) is female. New Zealand needs to set a better example than that. And so simply because of her gender I am favourably disposed to the appointment of Janet Evans.

Second, she really knows the sport of swimming. What Katie Ledecky is today Janet Evans was in the 1980s. Just consider this record; four Olympic Gold Medals and one Silver, five World Championship Gold Medals, one Silver and one Bronze and World Records over 400, 800 and 1500 meters. Her 800 meter world record of 8:16.22 stood unbroken for nineteen years from 1989 to 2008. For five years from 1985 to 1990 Evans was undefeated over 400, 800 and 1500 meters. The FINA Bureau could do with some real swimming knowledge at its top table. Perhaps she would temper FINA’s current rush to reward murderous dictators like the Russian President.

Third, she is young. She is 46 years old. The guy she is seeking to replace, Dale Neuburger, is pretty typical of FINA Bureau members. He has been FINA Vice President since 2000. It is time for him to move aside. The movement in swimming towards a more professional sport and overdue gender issues is work for a younger mind. Janet Evans seems well placed to address those problems, or as Craig Lord put it, she stands head and shoulders above the likely male candidates whose names are doing the rounds of pool talk.”

Fourth, she is strong enough to effect change. One of the three women on the current FINA Bureau is the South African breaststroke Olympic Champion, Penny Heyns. Recent indecision by the Bureau on the Safe Sport issue suggests that Penny Heyns and the others are in serious need of help. The “athlete first” concept still has a long way to go in the sport of swimming. And that’s just as true in New Zealand as it is in Switzerland.

And fifth, I have some knowledge of one of the coaches who guided Janet Evans’ career. Through most of her swimming she was coached by Bud McAllister. I have had no personal contact with him. But I do know Mark Schubert who also assisted Janet Evans and also was coach of her young and talented daughter. I have coached four swimmers who have also swum with Mark Schubert. I have tremendous respect for the man. He is tough, uncompromising, knowledgeable and honest. The fact that Janet Evans survived and thrived with Mark Schubert is all the recommendation I need. No one with character defects last with Mark Schubert. Anyone who wants to know whether Janet Evans has what it takes to represent the sport can rest easy. Of course she has – she survived Schubert.

So that’s the five personal reasons that the selection of Janet Evans would be a good move. But there is more than that. A senior source close to the USA Swimming leadership told SwimVortex;

“Because this person represents the strongest and most influential swimming nation on earth: arguably, USA Swimming is the only federation that could impose changes on FINA. That’s a matter of choice – and the world is waiting and watching for true leadership. FINA cannot possibly afford to have non-cooperation with the USA as the strongest team in its sales package to television and related media.”

SwimVortex then checked on the qualities that the USA representative should possess. Here is the list;

·         Free of conflicting interests from their gainful employment.

·         Financially secure enough to resist the FINA system (of grace and favour gravy train lifestyles)

·         Corruption free, “both perceptually and in reality”.

·         Intent on change and intent not to get sucked into the ”go along to get along” malaise and assimilation at the heart of FINA culture

·         Knowledgeable about international sport politics.

·         Supported by their employee for travel, time away from work because the position is ‘voluntary’;

·         Widely known and respected within the sport and by the media, globally.

·         Willing to press for an ‘athlete first’ culture

·         Willing to move FINA into this century by placing financial priority on the athlete not the administration (the annual budget for which is often greater than the total amount of prize money spent on athletes)

·         Willing to shift FINA into a role of cooperation with its major stakeholders, athletes at the helm and coaches, too


Janet Evens has meets most of those requirements. We can only hope she makes her way through the American political minefield and ends up sitting at FINA’s top table.

It is off the subject, but swimming in New Zealand could do worse than examine the list of requirements for the American job and apply the same criteria to those who wish to represent New Zealand in the sport’s highest court.

New Zealand Prepares For The Games

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

 There are as many ways of preparing for a Games as there are swimmers in the event. There is no fixed formula; no compulsory recipe. Distances swum can vary. The makeup of training sets can differ. Some swimmers continue with their gym programs and others focus on swimming alone. There is certainly no one road to Games success. If there were we’d all be on it. However there are a few features that seem to be standard. One of them is the importance of pre-Games competition. You don’t need to be a qualified swim coach to understand that swimmers need warmup competitions. Going straight from the training pool to a Commonwealth Games heat swim is not going to be successful.

Real competition is required to practice the skills of racing hard. Some things just cannot be replicated in a training pool. Experience suggests that between four and six quality competitions are needed to achieve peak results. It normally takes four meets for the swimmer to adjust into full racing mode. When I was coaching Toni Jeffs she toured Europe twice and broke New Zealand records in meets five and six; Anna Simcic broke her world record in meet five; and Danyon Loader broke his in meet five. Fewer “warm-up” races would have seen New Zealand missing out on two world records and five national records. So four races is the minimum warm-up required and six is even better.

The table below shows the starting, mid-tour and end of tour times of several New Zealand swimmers who were on one of the tours with Toni Jeffs. All of them performing best at meets five and six:

Name Event Meet 1&2 Meet 3&4 Meet 5&6
Loader 400 Free 3:50.39 3:49.51 3:43.64
1500 Free 15:04.76 14:59.83 14:54.38
200 Free 1:57.68 1:59.17 1:56.24
Simcic 100 Back 1:02.01 1:01.47 1:00.99
200 Back 2:10.59 2:08.11 2:07.11
Jeffs 50 Free 26.01 25.86 25.54
100 Free 56.48 56.75 56.11
Langrell 800 Free 8:34.26 8:26.93 8:24.78
400 Free 4:11.72 4:10.63 4:09.13

The experience of track athletes confirms the importance of a well-planned series of warm-up competitive events. The table below shows the number of races some of New Zealand’s finest runners competed in before running their best times.

Name Event Races Prior
Walker World Mile Record 9
Halberg Three Mile World Record 9
Snell World Mile Record 6
Snell World 800 Record 7
Walker Olympic 1500 Title 5
Quax World 5000 Record 4
Quax Olympic 5000 Silver Medal 5

As you can see the experience of some very successful competitors suggest strongly that a well-planned pre-main event program of races is important.

And so how does the current New Zealand team’s pre-Games program compare. We already know that the preparation has been disrupted by Swimming New Zealand’s incompetence. A pre-Games camp has had to be split in two because Swimming New Zealand fiddled with the relay entries and then couldn’t count to 11. But has the federation compensated by planning an exciting series of warm-up events? The table below shows the competitions swum by each team member in February and March; in other words the competitions swum in the eight weeks prior to the Commonwealth Games. Because Corey Main, Georgia Marris and Samuel Perry are in the United States their information may not be accurate. I have attempted to find the events Perry and Marris would have swum by looking at their school events.

Name Total Pre-Games Events
Ashby 2
Doyle 2
Gasson 2
Gichard 2
Hunter 2
Main 0
Marris 0
Perry 4
Ryan 0
Stanley 1
Transom 2

As you can see there is a huge difference between the competitive program followed by the athletes shown at the top of this post and the race program offered to this Commonwealth Games team. I hope I’m wrong, but in my opinion, and with the exception of Samuel Perry, the team lacks hard race preparation.

Samuel Perry’s February and March schedule has included races for Stanford University against USC, Cal, Pac12 and NCAA Div1. He should arrive in Brisbane hardened and race ready. Compare that to others on the team whose two events have been a Roskill Club Level 1 Meet and the Auckland Age Group Championships. Those events hardly compare with the Pac12 and NCAA Div1. With the best will in the world a Roskill Level 1 Meet and an Auckland Age Group Championships are not adequate preparation for a Commonwealth Games.

In a final act of lunacy Swimming New Zealand decided to program the National Open Championships three months after the Games have ended. In a piece of blatant vandalism, the one domestic event that could have offered some much needed competition was deliberately removed. Has someone in Antares Place set out to make life as difficult as possible for this team?

We will of course soon see what happens but at this stage the evidence suggests that the Swimming New Zealand parent body has let this team of swimmers down. The selection process was a farce, the pre-Games camp is a shambles, the debate over relay and individual events is causing conflict and the warm-up race program appears to be inadequate. The signs are ominous. In my opinion, if the worst happens, responsibility for the team selection, for the camp, for the event selection and for the pre-Games schedule lies squarely at the door of Cotterill and Johns. This one is down to them. They should be rewarded for the successes of the team. They should be fired for its failures.

Success & Failure

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018


Today I have witnessed the good and the not so good of international sport. Let’s begin with the good. Eyad and I had finished morning training and were leaving the Millennium Pool. We had to walk around the back of the pool to where the car was parked. It is fairly deserted down there. Just car parks, some scraggy pine trees and a shot put circle. I have frequently felt sorry for the shot put types; relegated to the back of the car park while their track mates have their all-weather facility at the top of the hill. Given that arguably the best female and male shot-putters in the world are from New Zealand it seemed strange that their place of work should appear to be such an after-thought.

As we walked past the shot put facility I noticed a girl taking a practice throw. The bloody thing went for miles. “Wow,” I said to Eyad, “That girl is good at shot put.” I looked more closely. She certainly is good at shot put. Dame Valerie Adams was with her coach, working away, preparing for the Commonwealth Games.

We stopped and watched as they went about their work. I was reminded of that line from Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” – “Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife.” Here was the best in the world, no bugles, no drums, out the back of the Millennium Pool, just her and her coach quietly preparing to represent her country. So much that’s good about the best of New Zealand sport was on show this morning. No corporate plans or discounted cash flows, just Dame Valerie Adams and her coach, among the pine trees, on their own, plying their trade, continuing in the tradition of Arch Jelley, Arthur Lydiard and Rusty Robertson. I was immensely privileged to have seen a champion at work. I understood a little bit more about why the girl in the trees was the best in the world.

I had a similar experience to this morning once before. When I was coaching in Florida I had an apartment in the Delray Beach Racquet Club. Shortly after moving in I was walking home and heard extremely loud whacks of someone playing tennis on one of the private courts. The noise was so loud I opened the door and went in to see what was happening. To my amazement I discovered it was Serena and Venus Williams. I watched them practice for twenty minutes and was stunned. On television you get no idea of the power of their game. Mere mortals had no chance of returning their shots. Whenever I hear tennis commentators criticise either of the William’s sisters I remember that evening in Florida. The best in the world are pretty bloody amazing.

Not so uplifting was a message I received this morning. This is what it said.

It’s shocking males prep in Aussie females prep in nz. Jerry booked it I heard he told snz that only a few would qualify. Now they have a team that’s too big for the Aussie boooking (sic) for staging camp. So the girls are camping in nz.boys in Aussie

At first I thought my correspondent must have made a mistake. Surely Swimming New Zealand could book a training camp without screwing it up. I knew this was the organisation that had announced medley qualifying conditions and withdrawn them a week before the event. This is the same Swimming New Zealand that announced an Oceania team only to have half the swimmers pull out a week later. And this was the outfit that published eleven pages of Commonwealth Games qualifying rules and when only two swimmers met the cut selected anyone who could blow bubbles under the water to swim in relays. Perhaps they had messed up the Commonwealth Games’ camp. With this lot anything is possible.

And so I did some research. Yes, sure enough the facts are about right. As I understand it Swimming New Zealand added a team of five or six swimmers to the well-organized para camp in Noosa. As we all know Swimming New Zealand fiddled the rules and picked a dozen or so relay swimmers. New Zealand now had more swimmers than Noosa bookings. It seems that Noosa were not able to change the booking and so Swimming New Zealand decided to split the team. The boys and para swimmers have gone to Noosa and the girls are training in New Zealand.

What a circus. I understand Gary Francis was left to sort out the mess. He seems to have made the best of a terrible deal. The other day I asked what Gary Francis had been doing for five weeks. Why was the Targeted Athlete and Coach job not making progress? Well now we know. He has been running around putting out fires, and from what I can see, doing a good job of making the best of a ridiculously bad deal.

New Zealand’s two most public swimming competitions are the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games. It is simply amazing that on $150,000 plus a year Steve Johns or someone could not organise a pre-games training camp properly. Gary Francis clearly had no option but to divide the team. But it is not good preparation for a Commonwealth Games. It’s not good preparation for the Porirua Chocolate Fish Carnival.   They couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.

A Sham Of A Plan

Monday, March 19th, 2018

 Recommendation Ten of the 2012 Moller Report required Swimming New Zealand to prepare a “Whole of Sport Plan”. The Plan must include:

1.    Targets for the growth of the sport including at club level.

2.    A multiyear facilities strategy

3.    A coach development plan

4.    A High Performance Strategy to support performance

5.    A key stakeholder’s relationship plan.

6.    A funding plan

Five years ago Swimming New Zealand prepared the required “Whole of Sport Plan”. It contained 22 items that Swimming New Zealand pompously called “Strategic Goals”. I thought it would be interesting to do a five year report on how well the current Board of Swimming New Zealand has performed against their plan; they prepared it, but have they done it? Have they been good boys and girls or have they earned a homework detention? I would love to report that the sport is bounding along from one successful peak to another. But facts are facts. How has Cotterill’s organisation done in comparison to its own goals?

Strategic Goal One: “Increase the number of Kiwis actively participating in swimming programs.”

The table below shows what has actually happened:

2011 2017 Change
Total Swimming Members 25,467 19,118 Down By 24.9%
Competitive Members 6,161 5,660 Down By 8.1%

So that’s not good. Sadly population changes make the numbers even worse. In 2011 New Zealand’s population was 4,384.000. By 2017 it had increased by 322,000 (7%) to 4,706,000. And so in a period when the population went up, swimming’s share of the population went down by 29.3%.

Strategic Goal Two: An aligned National & regional competition structure that supports the development, conditioning and medalling of NZ swimmers.

The reality of this goal is stunningly inexplicable. The table below shows the competition structure that used to apply in New Zealand and what it has become today.   

2011 Competition Structure 2018 Reality
January Region Championships January Region Championships
February Division 2 March Division 2
March Age Groups April Age Groups
March Opens July Opens

In 2011 it was possible for a swimmer to begin racing at a Regional Championship and progress to Age Groups and Opens in the same “peak” period. That is no longer possible. The meets are way too far apart. The program has been decided by someone who has no idea of what they are doing. When the Commonwealth Games are added, the schedule becomes even worse. World swimming has known for years that National Championships or Trials are best scheduled very close to an international commitment. Just check the USA and Australia. In New Zealand the Federation runs the Open Championships three months after the Games have ended. Why?

Strategic Goal Three: To have a NZ coaching system that is internationally recognised.

I have been fortunate enough to coach in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Virgin Islands, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. That experience has left me with some appreciation of the coaching qualifications that are recognized around the world. I imagine it will surprise no one to hear that Swimming New Zealand’s bronze, silver and gold coaching certificates are of almost no value outside New Zealand. Because of this I decided to use the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) training program. I have followed their program all the way to their International Level Five qualification. With that certificate I can go anywhere and have my qualifications understood and accepted.

If I was advising Swimming New Zealand I would have recommended that they arrange for all New Zealand coaches to be trained by ASCA. That would provide New Zealand coaches with the world’s premiere training and with certificates that have international currency. ASCA can provide coaching benefits that, no matter how hard they try, Swimming New Zealand will never be able to achieve.

Strategic Goal Four: To attract, develop, retain and reward a talented and committed base of volunteers.  

The volunteer base has declined by 46 (2.5%) since 2011. This data is shown in the table below.

2011 2018 Change
Officials 1,856 1,810 Down By 2.5%

Strategic Goal Five: The AquaBlacks have a reputation as a (sic) solid performers on the international stage.

Only the masters of fake news at Antares Place would claim Swimming New Zealand has run a successful international program. Sport New Zealand has punished the poor performance by reducing its financial support. Cotterill said he doesn’t understand the reason. That’s sad because the rest of the world knows it’s because the program he manages can’t win a swimming race. For some time Boyle and Snyders masked the program’s intrinsic problems. But eventually even they fled to the United States and Australia. The following tables give some idea of the international mess created by Cotterill and his Board.

Government Performance Funding

2011  2017 Change
Sport New Zealand Funding 1,962,838 1,413,148 Down By 28.0%

Commonwealth Games Individual Qualifiers

Glasgow 2014 Gold Coast 2018 Change
Individual Games Qualifiers 12 2 Down By 83.3%

Commonwealth Games Results

Gender Medals Finals Semi-Finals Heats Only
Glasgow 2014 2 8 3 14
Delhi 2010 5 9 10 5

World Championship Results

  2017 2015 2013 2011
Number of Medals 0 2 3 0
Number of Finals 1 2 6 4
Number of Semi-Finals 2 1 5 5
Average Place over all team members 26 23 19 19
NZ Position on Medal table Nil 20 27 Nil

Strategic Goal Six: Performances of New Zealand swimmers improve consistently at all levels.

Cotterill told us recently that, “An astonishing 49 New Zealand swimming records were broken between July 2016 – June 2017, including six open records and forty three age group records.” The truth is that, after going back as far as I can, I was unable to find a year in which fewer national records “at all levels” were broken.

Strategic Goal Seven: All athletes, coaches and performance staff aspire to become part of the SNZs High Performance Team environment.

The Millennium High Performance Program.has been steadily falling apart. Even Swimming New Zealand has given up. An email from Gary Francis announced the change. He said, “Swimming New Zealand are not looking to seek a replacement for Jerry, or anyone in a similar role for the present time. The HP centre at AUT Millennium will now become the National Training Centre.”

Strategic Goal Eight: The Swimming New Zealand Team is respected for its clarity, leadership and strong direction.

The decision to appoint a Targeted Athlete and Coach Manager gave hope that things at Swimming New Zealand were about to take a new and better management direction. Sadly recent events indicate that instead of Gary Francis changing Swimming New Zealand, the organisation has changed Gary Francis. The hope for strong leadership died.

Strategic Goal Nine: Commercial partners receiving value, feel part of swimming and willing to maintain and increase their investment in swimming.

Since State Insurance ended its Swimming New Zealand sponsorship Cotterill and Johns have been unable to find a main sponsor for the sport. The table below shows a comparison of Swimming New Zealand’s income from grants and sponsorship since the Whole of Sport Plan said the organisation intended to see partners increase their investment.

2011  2017 Change
Grants and Sponsorship 1,290,498 754,211 Down By 41.6%

Strategic Goal Ten: To grow our revenue to provide a secure future for swimming. Reduced level of organisational risk.

There are two parts to this goal. The first is to grow Swimming New Zealand’s income. That hasn’t happened. The table below shows that income has collapsed by 14.7%.

2011 2017 Change
Swimming Income 4,158,493 3,546,861 Down By 14.7%

And the second part is to reduce the organisations risk by making it more financially independent. The table below shows what has actually happened.

Grants and Sponsors Business Generated % Self-Generated
2011 3,253,336 905,157 21.8%
2017 2,208,972 1,337,889 37.7%

The good news is the business has gone from being 21.8% self-sufficient in 2011 to 37.7% in 2017. That improved self-sufficiency has been achieved by a million dollars decrease in grants and sponsorship and massive increases in user pays contributions (up by 60%) and meet entry fees (up by 207%).

Strategic Goal Eleven: To attract, develop and retain quality people.

Retaining staff has not been a Swimming New Zealand strong point. In ten years the sport has had three CEOs and nine Head Coaches. Even Cotterill acknowledged the chaos of staff turnover. In his 2017 Annual Report he said:

The 2016/17 year can be best described as a year of disruption. We have had a number of changes in our executive and management team including a new National Head Coach and CEO. We have also suffered a significant reduction in funding from High Performance Sport NZ which in turn led to the disestablishment of two senior roles within the High Performance team.

Strategic Goal Thirteen: Work with Regions and RST’s to develop a 30 year blueprint for infrastructure requirements for swimming.

I have no idea whether anything has been done about preparing an infrastructure plan. I doubt it. It’s hard to drain the swamp when you are up to your armpits in alligators.

Strategic Goal Fourteen: To have in place standard policies,  processes and systems.

This Swimming New Zealand certainly has done. There are more procedures now for entering a meet or being selected for a team or running a club than in any country I have worked. Swimming New Zealand has become a bureaucrat’s dream. It’s easier to escape from North Korea than it is to get into a New Zealand swim team.


This post is not a negative criticism of Swimming New Zealand. It is not fake news or spin. It is simply an account of the organisation’s performance compared to the goals Cotterill set for himself. It only becomes negative when we see that in the pragmatic measures of participation, performance and finance Swimming New Zealand is in a terrifying downward spiral.